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Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

New dark money group formed to boost Sweeney

New Jersey Participation Project sought building trades money at Washington fundraiser last night

By David Wildstein, April 25 2023 2:50 pm

A new dark money group formed four weeks ago is raising money from labor unions to benefit Steve Sweeney, a former Senate President who is expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of New Jersey in 2025.

The fledgling group, the New Jersey Participation Project, held a fundraiser in Washington last night, honoring Sweeney at an event held during the North American Building Trades Union legislative conference.  The International Association of Ironworkers sponsored the event – Sweeney is the general vice president – along with the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

The invitation to the event, which did not include a ticket price, notes that “public disclosure of donors is not required for contributions made for the general purpose of New Jersey Participation Project.”  It noted that the 501 (c)4 non-profit “can accept unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals.”

The group has hired Jennifer May, a professional fundraiser who was the finance director for Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill).   Corporation filings with the state show the organization is registered to the home address of Sean Kennedy, a longtime Sweeney advisor.  The organization was formed on March 31.

It’s not clear how much Sweeney’s group raised.  May did not immediately respond to a text message.

Sweeney has made no secret of his plan to run for governor in two years; he announced his intentions at a plumbers union meeting weeks after the 2021 election.

President Joe Biden, who announced his re-election bid today, will address the national building trades group today.

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